LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - With a promise for a healthier, cleaner way to get that nicotine fix, e-cigarette makers are estimated to rake in close to $2 billion this year. But how safe is this new wave of cigarettes?
Dr. Mark Esterle of Louisville Pulmonary Care said the jury is still out on just how dangerous they possibly are.
"Electronic cigarettes are a bit of a double-edged sword," said Dr. Esterle.
On the one hand, Dr. Esterle said for current smokers, e-cigarettes provide a tremendous opportunity to lead a longer and healthier life if they are used to aid in kicking the smoking habit. Mike McQuillen is a prime example. He started smoking cigarettes at age 13, but for the last couple of years he's done what is called "vaping."
"This is my first step and only step, and I have quit 100 percent," McQuillen said.
Karen Neuling is another example. She owns JUNGL-E Juice, an e-cigarette store on Valley Station Road. Neuling suffers from COPD and says e-cigarettes have helped her cut back on her nicotine addiction.
On the other hand, Dr. Esterle said trouble can arise when teens think vaping their favorite bubble gum, banana, and jolly rancher flavors is cool. Although they do not have the hundreds of ingredients found in traditional cigarettes, Esterle said e-cigarettes still contain highly addictive nicotine and an ingredient found in anti-freeze.
The products are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.